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Monday, March 4, 2013

NwaVic's Watch Fest (1st Edition): Top Ten Must-Watch TV Shows

Happy New Week guys!

I woke up this morning just feeling lucky to be living. I hope you had a restful weekend. I did...well because I spent the entire weekend catching up TV shows :-). I love good tv shows.

"Ral watches every show", I can hear my sister Ogo say. "No no no I don't watch every show. I watch every good show", I hear myself hissing back.

Once I find a good show, I could stay in bed all weekend watching as much as I can in 48 hours. And when I say TV shows, I mean real TV shows; drama, comedy, fantasy; a strong storyline that intrigues me; plots that challenge my thought process; characters that provoke my conscience. This is why I don't watch reality shows. But that's a story for another day.

So! In the spirit of sharing with you all good things, this post will profile my current top ten TV shows to watch in descending order with short trailers. This post is strictly dedicated to shows that are still on the air and have been given the nod for at least another season. If you ever have a moment, try one you haven't already and let me know if you like as much as I do.

Here you go.....

10: Nashville

Wednesdays at 10pm on ABC

Set in the city of Nashville, Tennessee, this drama details the life of a country star Rayna James who is fast approaching the end of her stardom. Debuting in November 2012, the show not only follows Rayna's need-based forced collaboration with a younger best-selling (and may I say arrogant and troubled) younger country star Juliette Barnes, it also shows her troubled relationship with her father and her complicated marriage.
Not only is the music in Nashville superb, the characters are soo well-developed, it gives you great insight into the politics of both the music industry (even one as seemingly serene as country) and local politics. I also love Rayna's character- you genuinely watch a good woman struggle between trying to stay true to herself and keep her head afloat in the business.  It's an authentic show with a high performing cast.

9: Suits

Thursdays at 10pm on USA Network

Set in New York city and debuting in 2011, Suits follows Mike Ross, an overtly intelligent college drop-out who goes from earning money by taking and passing major tests for other people to working at Pearson/Hardman, one of the biggest law firms in NY. He had been running for his life when he ran into a job interview with Harvey Specter, one of the best closers in the legal industry and great asset to Pearson/Hardman. Specter hires Ross after he realizes Ross' raw talent would get the job done. The show basically follows Ross and Specter's very complicated friendship/partnership as they tackle cases while trying to keep the fact that Ross doesn't have a law degree from everyone including the firm's managing partner no-nonsense Jessica Pearson. 
I just love Harvey Specter! There's something about him (big cheese). Okay, besides Harvey's "swagger", arrogance and intellect, the drama requires edge-seating and the cinematography is top quality. You can even only watch for the scenery.  More so, Suits isn't just another legal show (which I like normally). What puts it on this list is the mind-boggling possibility of practicing law without going through the excruciating haze of law school and the bar exam. Is it possible in real time? Suits certainly makes it seem so. And ofcourse it has all the ingredients of good watching; good-looking people, power-hungry lawyers, thought-provoking cases, complicated love interests and intriguing play-on-play dialogue. The characters in Suits are sophisticated, witty, and too clever to ever be boring. Oh! and the name is well-placed considering if you take your eye off the storyline just for a moment, it might as well be a fashion show of suits. I want to know where they shop!

8: Modern Family

Wednesdays at 9pm on ABC

Debuting in 2010 to 12.6 million viewers, this comedy is the most unique of its caliber. Set in the form of a "mockumentary", it follows the lives of members of an unconventional family headed by Jay Pritchett, an older guy, his young and hot Columbian second wife (who has a young son from a previous marriage), his housewife daughter married with three kids and his gay son who has a life partner and adopted asian daughter. Of this list, it is the most unique because it basically shows what many American families look like these days; a divorced father with a new younger wife, a gay couple adopting a child from abroad, parents trying to raise three children the "modern" open way and the melting pot many Americans now call family.

Not only is this show creativity at its best, it is beyond hilarious! The writing is witty and the characters perform like they were born to do it. Its also deeper than comedy, it tackles themes such as culture, communication, support, family life and generally what it takes to be "different". Its 30 minutes of pure intelligent laughter. It's impossible to not love it! 

7: Revenge 

Sundays at 9pm on ABC

Premiering in 2011, this soap-opera-like drama centers on Amanda Clarke alias Emily Thorne (played by Brothers and Sisters veteran Emily Vandercamp), who returns to the Hamptons, where she grew up, to avenge her father's fall from glory. Her father framed for assisting a terrorist organization, a crime he did not commit and imprisoned for life where he later dies, left her a fortune in the form of an investment in a very profitable start-up company. She uses this to disguise herself using a different identity and operating as a member of the elite Hampton residents, majority of whom betrayed her father. The betrayal was master-minded by the powerful Grayson family. 
Emily Thorne is nothing short of ruthless! Every move she makes, even though threatened by emotions, is calculated. Bit by bit, she aims to destroy everyone who played a part in destroying her and her fathers' lives. The plot is brilliant and the characters are so well-casted in their roles. It seems like a pot of secrets, each one (big and small) released in every episode. The only reason why its not rated any higher is because while season 1 left you staring at your TV for at least another 5 minutes attempting to comprehend what just happened, season 2 has taken a little bit of a twist, stealing Emily away from her straight-lined calculated plot and more into the twists of accommodating the people around her. Despite that, I'd like to believe that this season is necessary not only for the longevity of the show, but to build for bigger "wow"s in the future. Stay tuned.

6: Homeland

Sundays at 9pm on Showtime
Premiering in 2011, this drama series focuses on CIA agent Carrie Mathison, who on an unauthorized operation in Iraq finds out that an American soldier kidnapped and held by al-Qaeda has been turned. After being put on probation for overstepping authority, she learns that Nicholas Brody a U.S. Marine who had been missing for 8 years had been rescued by US authorities. While Brody is celebrated by U.S. authorities and media as a war hero, Mathison, acting on the belief that Brody is the soldier who had been turned sets out to investigate this and "prevent another terrorist attack" on America, only to continually stumble on lies, sexual desire and her own bipolarity. This show has bagged 6 Emmy awards including outstanding drama series. 
This is another edge-of-your seat drama. It plays not only on the fragility Iraq veterans face when they come home, but the inside operations of the CIA agents who live and breathe the task of combating terrorism. We get to see their everyday struggles and pain and the challenges they face for "the job".  The instability Carrie's character adds to the intrigue of the show because the audience is constantly trying to decide whether to believe her or not. The show also exploits the angle that terrorism could be establishing channels at home. My brother-in-law turned me onto Homeland and I basically went through two seasons amidst a busy work week. Sometimes, I'd stay up watching till 3am because I couldn't wait to see the next episode and I just kept wondering why I didn't discover it sooner. It's that captivating. Seriously.

5. House of Cards

Anytime on Netflix
Premiering in February 2013, this political drama is set in present day Washington D.C. and opens with Frank Underwood (played by Kevin Spacey), a Democratic congressman getting passed over for a Secretary of State promotion which he was promised for helping the President win the election. Burning with revenge, he alongside his wife Claire set out to win the Presidential seat. Using every secret he can get his hands on, he plays political figures against each other in such a conniving way, that they're all playing together for his plan. Other notable characters include Zoe Barnes, a scruffy journalist who Underwood uses to promote his agenda in the media and Peter Russo, a young and unstable congressman who Underwood uses to get into the White House. 
I have to first say I just watched the entire first season last week. My brother turned me on to it and I finished the season before he did. hehehe. I was first of all, intrigued by the brave way this series launched. It just literally dumped all 13 episodes of the first season on Netflix for everyone to watch. It was literally a call to binge. But it was worth every minute and it salutes modern day where people watch more shows on Netflix than on cable. Here's the crux of it; you get an inside picture as to how politics (maybe and probably) works, and if you live in the D.C. area, it makes you wonder how you could be so aloof to all this happening in your city (again, maybe, if in actuality). Kevin Spacey deserves an Emmy award for best actor because he is completely immersed in his character. I also love the complicated relationships in the show. For e.g. Underwood and his wife and Underwoord and Barnes. Once you start watching this show, you can't stop. The characters are manipulative, strong and convincing. The first season was extraordinary and I hope it continues that way.

4. The Good Wife

Sundays at 9pm on CBS
The drama premieres with a scene that has appeared more in real-life than in fiction; where Alicia Florrick, loyal wife of former state attorney Peter Florrick stands beside her man as he takes a press conference addressing his recent sex and corruption scandal. After Peter is imprisoned for his crimes, Alicia must return to her career as a lawyer, one she abandoned years ago to raise two children. The show basically intertwines two plots, one in which Alicia proves herself as a litigator at premier Chicago law firm Lockhart & Gardner and the other in which Peter tries to make both political and personal come-backs. Other intriguing characters include Kalinda Sharma a dare-devil investigator with a qustionable past. 
My sister told me about this show since its premiere in 2009 but I didn't get to it till early 2011. I watched one episode and had to get a Netflix account so I could watch the rest. Drawing inspiration from real political scandals like that of John Edward, Eliot Spitzer and Bill Clinton, the show provides insight into how the wives involved "probably" dealt with it. There's also a unique marrying of the power play between law and politics in a way that keeps you glued to the screen. I also love the characters. Juliette Marguiles who plays Alicia Florrick does an amazing job; every emotion is carefully portrayed and I just love her! I also love Chris Noth (Sex and the City's Mr. Big) but I may be biased because he really reminds me of my dad. :-) I must tell you this show grows on you. Give it at 2-3 episodes, then decide. But then, I'm sure by then you'll be hooked.

3. Walking Dead

Sundays at 9pm and 11pm on AMC

Based on a comic book series of the same name, this horror drama is set in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. Premiering in 2010, it follows a small group of survivors led by Rick Grimes a former Sheriff's deputy as they struggle to survive daily and avoid getting bitten. Basically, if you get bitten by a walker (aimless brainless walking zombies), you die, only to wake up in a couple of minutes as a walker. The group is not only threatened by walkers (some of which are their "turned" family and friends) but also, other survivor groups.  The show opens to Grimes as he awakes from a coma he has been in for several months to find that the world he knew had been overtaken by zombies who could smell blood from afar. Dazed and after narrowly escaping death several times, he heads to Atlanta to look for his wife and child. The show not only follows Grimes' search and discovery of his wife (who is now sleeping with his best friend) and son but it contends with Grimes' joining and later leading the group which continually changes in dynamic.
First and foremost, I must say the biggest mistake you can make is dismissing this show as a zombie or vampire show. The zombie part is only the background and foundation to a deeper plot and parallel story lines. I have honestly never seen a show more brilliantly reckless. Not only do you get well-developed characters, the writers take their time to portray how their diverse personalities deal with balancing their conscience in this new world with the need to constantly kill or be killed. Various members die and we constantly meet new characters. No one is safe! The writers do not play it "safe" like in many shows; any character could die any day. But its so tastefully done that it leaves the audience hungry for more. Because it explores how human character changes when the only purpose of living is survival, it also makes you, who's watching, question your own conscience as to what you'd do if you woke up one day to find the world as you know it gone. Needless to say, psyches are changed, emotions are constantly tested and hearts are hardened. More so, this show has one of the best set-ups I could imagine. You see the extraordinary work that must have been put in behind the scenes to create the scenery and ambience in the show. The make-up is superb! Plus after each episode, an interactive mini talk show Talking Dead comes on where the recent episode and how the walkers and scenes are discussed in detail. This is a MUST-WATCH! It will blow your mind away...if you don't believe me, ask the 8 friends of mine who I successfully turned into Walking Dead fans. 

2. Scandal

Thursdays at 10pm on ABC
Created by Greys Anatomy and Private Practice creator Shonda Rhimes and debuting mid-season in 2012, this drama focuses on Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), a professional "fixer" in Washington D.C. who not only played a major role in the election of Fitzgerald Grant as the President of the United States, but is in a sizzling affair with him. Pope's reputation is that of a respected brilliant problem solver who, with the help of her small team, can make any problem go away before it becomes public. Each episode not only follows Pope (who always trusts her gut) and her team of lawyers who call themselves "gladiators in suits" and "crisis managers" as they try to solve a diverse set of problems, the show gives insight into each character's flaw and weakness.
This is probably one of the most popular shows at the moment. Not only is the chemistry between Pope and Grant on fire, the plot is immensely entertaining and the suspense is blood-boiling. You are hooked from beginning to end, wondering what Pope will do next. Bodies are moved, affairs are had, things are planted, reverends die on top of their mistresses, elections are rigged and its all a normal business day. There couldn't be a better Olivia Pope than Kerry Washington. Her performance deserves an Emmy for best actress. While many guys dismiss this show as for the ladies (who not love it for the inspiration they can find in the strength and confidence of Pope's character but for the eye candy Columbus Short who plays , a member of Pope's team), I know many men who find the story line intriguing as well because the show is really about power play in politics and the length people will go to hide their secrets. This show has left many obsessed. If you doubt me, pay attention to your Facebook and twitter feed every Thursday night.

1. Game of Thrones

Sundays at 9pm on HBO
This fantasy drama is set in the fictional medieval continents of Westeros and Essos and features seven intertwined plot lines as seven kingdoms fight for control of Westeros. The first season opens when Robert Baratheon, King of Westeros, makes his old friend Lord Stark, Hand og the King, the his highest official. Meanwhile, the Lannisters (the Queen's family), the Targaryens (the last family to hold the throne), the Greyjoys, Tullys, Arryns and Tyrells also each scheme a way to takeover the throne. The friction and powerplay between all these houses/kingdoms is the basis osf this brilliant show.
This is hands-down the most creative show on televsion. The plot, even though complex and multi-layered, manages to connect all the dots in a brilliant war. It is a raw bed of teaching themes like Power, Social hierarchy, betrayal, family, justice, religion, civil war, sexuality, crime, punishment, gender, and love. This is another show I finished two seasons in one weekend. Nothing beats it! Not only is the scenery maginificiently detailed, the characters are surreal. The interplay between love, betrayal, power, incest, religion, impunity and war is too imaginative to even explain. All I have to say is there is nothing like this on television- you are sure to see things that will not only make your jaw drop but it will keep it open for a while. Watch! then thank me later :-) 

Phew! There you have it. That took some time. See how much I care about what you're watching *bats eyelashes* I hope you appreciate oh. Did you notice most of the best shows come on Sundays at 9pm? My Sunday night is almost always accounted for. Bit of a clash there sometimes but most times, they show in different seasons, and some networks skip sundays to broadcast major events. But when I have a Sunday when two or more are showing at the same time, like yesterday, I choose one to watch, then catch up during the week on the network's website. Most networks have recent episodes up for anyone to view the next day. 

I'm sure you're already watching at least one show on this list. Watch more and let me know what you think. Also, I'm always up to check out a new show so if I'm missing any, let me know in your comments and I'd check it out.

Have an entertaining week!

Again, thank me later ;-)

Stay Inspired......


Anonymous said...

You forgot about "New Girl"

Achalugo said...

My best show is d big bang theory. Those nerds are hilarious. Used to love two and a half men till Charlie Sheen left d show. Ashton Kutcher aint doing it for me cha cha. Desperate housewives was my petit mignon. Was miserable for a long time after it ended. Wisteria lane was my sunday tonic. Loved brothers and sisters too. That french bloke was a live hunk. Its no longer on TV.
Law and order SVU was at d no one spot till I discovered those nerds from big bang theory. Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler gel very well. Tutuola and Munch crack me up.
Like u Ral, I'm not into reality shows. Apart from watching one season of American Idol, 2 seasons of American top model and Braxtons family values, I never did manage to run with d pack. Couldn't be bothered with d Kardashians. I love Investigation discovery though

Unknown said...

yes yes! Game of thrones is def #1 and Scandal #2..accurately so. Love the list, although I am not a fan of the walking dead.
Man I couldn't with revenge just kinda became repetitive.

Unknown said...

Suits should be higher than number 9, i will put it right after scandal. You forgot House of lies, strike back, Hunted, Boardwalk Empire(this should have certainly made the list!), BOSS(even thought his just got cancelled, it was soo epic it should be number 11 just of principle alone). You may have to do a part Du-ex of this son son....

Unknown said...

Suits should be higher than number 9, i will put it right after scandal. You forgot House of lies, strike back, Hunted, Boardwalk Empire(this should have certainly made the list!), BOSS(even thought his just got cancelled, it was soo epic it should be number 11 just of principle alone). You may have to do a part Du-ex of this son son....

Nwanyioma said...

Modern family is my best. Then Scandal is a good one. Love the story line. Very intriguing.

Princess R said...

Its a good one? I have to admit I've never seen it but I'll be sure to try it out.

Princess R said...

I know a lot of people who absolutely love big band theory. I tried it once but it didnt stick. Desperate Housewives would have been number 1 on the list if it was still on. I absolutely loved it and its still probably my favorite show of all time. I also loved brothers and sisters. I hate that it was cancelled. Law & order SVU is a good one too no doubt. OOO and I love Investigative Discovery and also Snapped on Oxygen.

Princess R said...

But have you tried Walking Dead? Girl, Its too good. You can't "not" be a fan haha. Yea about Revenge, if I accessed it only based on this season, it'd have been number 10 but I'm still optimistic that they're bringing it full circle. Fingers crossed.

Princess R said...

I really struggled with where to place Suits. While I love it, I couldn't help but think I may be biased towards it because its a lawyer show. But then again, maybe it should've switched places with Homeland. Do you think its better than House of Cards?
House of Lies is okay but it doesn't make the top ten at all. Maybe number 20 haha. You never told me about Hunted, strike back, boss or boardwalk empire. I'll check those out too. Based on all these comments, I may need to do a part 2 indeed.

Princess R said...

I agree. Both really awesome shows.

Unknown said...

lol well let me know wen it becomes full circle.
Walking dead i dnt need to try dnt like zombie movies lol